Not available in 2018/19
EU480      Half Unit
Policy-Making in Europe: System Challenges

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Sara Hagemann


This course is available on the MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Columbia), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Hertie), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and NUS), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Sciences Po), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Tokyo), MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MPA in Social Impact, MSc in EU Politics, MSc in EU Politics (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Global Europe: Culture and Conflict, MSc in Global Europe: Culture and Conflict (LSE & Sciences Po) and Master of Public Administration. This course is not available as an outside option.

This course has controlled access and priority will be given to students on the MPA in European Public and Economic Policy, followed by all other MPA students.


Knowledge of economics at the undergraduate level is required but students get this from other courses in the programme.

Course content

This course introduces students to policy-making in Europe, with an emphasis on how diversity and interdependence of nation states affect it. The starting point is the tension inherent in capitalist democracies: political power is more equally distributed than economic power. We ask whether interstate and supranational cooperation attenuate or aggravate this tension in its various guises. A number of crises provide a lens through which students will look at the robustness of cooperative institutions and the repercussions on national democracies.

Teaching is based on interactive seminars. Lecture elements are complemented with group work by the students on different country cases. Panel discussions, by practitioners and by students, give insights into the different perspectives that have to be reconciled in crisis management.  Students will organise a summit with stakeholders on two instances of collective crisis management. 

Sessions (indicative):

1. How can democracy and capitalism be reconciled? European answers in the post-war era

2. Market forces and failures: supranational technocracy to the rescue?

3. Europeanisation in a diverse Union: the limits to governance?

4. Democracy and capitalism after the Great Recession: any lessons learned? [Group presentations]

5. Interest representation in the EU [Guest speaker]

6. Reading week: capstone-related work

7. Euro area crisis management: the Troika and national government

8. Populism and nationalism

9. Migration and the security scare [panel discussion of practitioners in the field]

10. Failed and failing states in Europe’s neighbourhood

11. EU crisis management on trial


20 hours of seminars in the LT.

During reading week, extended assistance for capstone related work is made available. 

Formative coursework

The formative essay in weeks 4-5 gives students skills in comparative and critical case study design that is relevant for policy evaluation.

Indicative reading

Acemoglu D., Kremer M. and Mian A. (2008), Incentives in Markets, Firms, and Governments, Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, 24 (2), pp.273-306.

Bayoumi, T. (2015). The Dog That Didn’t Bark: The Strange Case of Domestic Policy Cooperation in the “New Normal”. IMF Working Paper, WP/15/156, Washington DC: IMF.

Frieden, J., Pettis, M., Rodrik, D., & Zedillo, E. (2012). After the Fall: The Future of Global Cooperation. Geneva Reports on the World Economy, 14, Geneva and London: CEPR, ICMB, pp. 1-32

Iversen T. (2006), Capitalism and Democracy, ch.33 in Weingast B. and Wittman D. (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Political Economy, Oxford University Press.

Jacoby W. and Meunier S. (eds) (2008), Europe and the management of globalization, introductory article to special issue of the Journal of European Public Policy, 17 (3).

Mair, P. (2009) Responsible versus responsive government, MPIfG Working Paper 09/8, Cologne: Max-Planck Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung.

Thelen K. (2012), Varieties of Capitalism: Trajectories of Liberalization and the New Politics of Social Solidarity, Annual Review of Political Science, 15, 137-159.


Essay (100%, 5000 words) in the ST.

Summative essay of 5,000 words, based on group work but to be written up individually after moot court and feedback from class as well as course teacher.

Key facts

Department: European Institute

Total students 2017/18: 15

Average class size 2017/18: 15

Controlled access 2017/18: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills